An abandoned wildlife park outside of Melbourne that was shutdown in 2012 has left some seriously spooky ghosts behind.
Tucked away on the grounds of the deserted sanctuary, in a run-down room strewn with litter and decaying arcade games, sits a giant great white shark floating in a green-tinted tank.
The four meter beast hangs idly in a cracked tank of formaldehyde, a chemical known for its preservative and antibacterial properties. Although highly common and naturally occurring in plants, animals and humans, exposure to the chemical and its fumes can be very harmful.
A sign nearby the decaying creature reads “mysterious shark.”
The site is clearly known to many Victorians and pictures have been floating around online for years.
The site displays plenty of evidence of numerous visitors since the venue was forced to close its doors.
A 30-minute video of people exploring the site posted to YouTube in November has been watched more than 9.3 million times in the past few months.
The trespassing filmmakers walk through abandoned animal displays filled with the stench of possum feces, and large rooms that have clearly been occupied in recent years. There is still milk in the fridge dated April 2016 in one of them.
When they happen upon the shark, they can’t contain their amazement.
“What the hell, can you guys see that?”
“That is creepy as.”
The video has received more than 26,000 comments and piqued online interest in the abandoned site. This week a stunning picture of the shark was shared on social media site Reddit, getting upvoted to the front page.
Melbourne artist and photographer Dom Krapski set out to find the abandoned wildlife sanctuary last month after hearing about it from a friend. After packing gas-vapor respirators and snacks, he set off on the hour-and-a-half journey south from Melbourne and wrote about what he found for Vice Australia this week.
“The shark’s shed was the first thing we found, all of a two-minute walk from the property gate. We just pulled up a roller door and there it was: a huge dark tank, surrounded by clutter,” Krapski wrote.
Below is a photo he took of the abandoned creature.
Writing on Instagram, he said vandals had broken the tank and some of the preservative chemicals had evaporated.
“Got told about this on the hush-hush a few weeks back and now it seems everyone knows about it thanks to YouTube,” he said.
“Vandals recently tore the roof off the tank and I guess in a couple more weeks, this’ll all be gone.”
The wildlife sanctuary was reportedly shut down in 2012 by the Department of Sustainability and Environment amid animal welfare concerns. According to Mr. Krapski it was originally a park dedicated to the Giant Gippsland Earthworm and came into possession of the shark as a temporary holding place after its intended home fell through. But when new owners took over, they kept the shark display but years later were found to not be complying with regulations.
In 2012, the ABC reported that the operator was running Wildlife Wonderland without a license and had been evicted from the property by its owners. The animals on site were surrendered to the RSPCA and the Department of Sustainability.
The site now appears to sit empty, becoming a playground for rough sleepers and urban explorers.
The Victorian Department of Environment and WorkSafe Victoria have been contacted for comment.
A spokesperson from the Environmental Protection Authority Victoria said: “The EPA is aware of the shark and tank and do not consider them to be hazardous.”
The agency says it has “provided the owner with advice on how to appropriately dispose of the items.”
This story originally appeared in news.com.au.